MAHARAJAH OF SHISHKEBOB

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Human, Indian citizen

Occupation: Maharajah

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Pamela Lang, Nellie Nelson, Dr. "Snazzy" Wilks, unidentified butler

Enemies: None (though Pamela Lang probably doesn't think too highly of him)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "The Roguish Rajah" (see comments)

Base of Operations: Shishkebob, India (presumably)

First Appearance: Nellie the Nurse I#15/2 (October 1948)

Powers/Abilities: The Maharajah is extremely rich, proficient at riding elephants, and a reasonable tennis player. He appears to have a passing interest in performing social experiments, though this is probably a hobby rather than academic skill, given he pronounced a conclusion about all American women based on a test sample size of just one individual, suggesting he really doesn't understand the scientific method.

Height: 5'4" (by estimation - see comments)
Weight: 230 lbs. (by estimation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

History:
(
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Maharajah of Shishkebob was an immensely wealthy Indian nobleman. He fell ill, and American doctor "Snazzy" Wilks helped him become well again, earning the Maharajah's gratitude.

(Nellie the Nurse I#15/2) - Desiring to do a scientific study into what American women were truly interested in, the Maharajah sent a letter to Wilks at Harkins General Hospital where he worked, inviting him to visit the Maharajah's American estate and to bring along a female friend. The Maharajah laid out his scientific intention openly in the invitation, and Wilks was considering refusing, but his girlfriend, Harkins' nurse Nellie Nelson, became fascinated at the idea of meeting a real Maharajah and begged him to take her, failing to read the whole letter and so unaware of the Maharajah's motive.

    Wilks and Nellie were met upon arrival at the estate by the Maharajah, who complimented the doctor on his taste in women and proceeded to shower Nellie with flattery, much to her pleasure and Snazzy's rapidly growing annoyance. Increasingly suspicious as to what the Maharajah had planned, Snazzy tried to claim they could only stay for a few minutes, but Nellie rebutted this, insisting they could stay as long as the Maharajah wanted them to. The Maharajah suggested a compromise - Nellie could stay forever if she liked, while Snazzy could leave. Snazzy angrily declined this idea, so the Maharajah, wanting time alone with Nellie to carry out his study, next suggested Snazzy could inspect the Maharajah's hothouse or play chess with his butler. Snazzy snapped that he didn't play chess, nor did he like flowers, prompting Nellie to try to calm the situation, suggesting that perhaps they could play tennis together on the Maharajah's private courts. The Maharajah happily agreed, falsely claiming to be rusty, then deliberately smashed the ball over the wall at the back of the courts, fully aware that on the other side was a swamp. Claiming it was his last ball, he asked Snazzy to retrieve it, confidant that the search would keep the physician occupied for an hour or more.

    As soon as he was alone with Nellie, he admitted his ruse to her, explaining he wanted to have some time alone with her. He asked her to abandon her boring life, stating that someone as fair as her belonged in a palace surrounded by servants, riches and wealth. Believing her wavering, he swiftly continued, offering her rubies, diamonds, gold, and an elephant of her very own. Before he could continue with his barrage of offers, he was interrupted by a sodden Snazzy, who had just returned from the swamp after seeing through the Maharajah's deception. The Maharajah begged the enraged Snazzy to calm down, and tried to explain himself, but Snazzy insisted that it was perfectly clear what the Maharajah was trying to do, and that he and Nellie were leaving. Acting swiftly, the Maharajah suggested they cool off with a brisk plunge in the swimming pool. Before Snazzy could refuse, Nellie declared it a wonderful idea, and the doctor reluctantly acquiesced. As he and the Maharajah changed into their trunks, the Maharajah used Nellie's temporary absence to try and explain himself, noting that he was only "trying to get the girl alone..." but Snazzy didn't let him finish the sentence, instead agreeing that the Maharajah was trying, and warning that he intended to stick close to the nobleman from now on. As they finished changing, the Maharajah thought to himself that he had to get Nellie alone in order to conduct his experiments.

   Reuniting with a bikini-clad Nellie, Snazzy swiftly jumped into the pool, only for Nellie to decide the water looked too cold and declare she'd rather have something to warm her up. To Snazzy's ire, the Maharajah seized the opportunity to escort Nellie away, offering her a hot cup of tea "for two." However, the Maharajah only had a few minutes alone with Nellie before Snazzy rejoined them, with the Maharajah decrying his continually interrupting the experiment. At that moment the phone began ringing, and when the Maharajah answered, he learned it was Harkins General, calling to say that both Snazzy and Nellie needed to come in at once. Unaware that this was a ruse Snazzy had hastily arranged with a phone call of his own after leaving the swimming pool, the Maharajah dejectedly passed on the message to his visitors, adding in tears that his day was now ruined and begging them not to leave him there alone. Snazzy consoled him, informing the Maharajah that he wouldn't be alone for long, as Snazzy had arranged for another friend of his to come over and entertain him, this time with no one else to interrupt. Just as Snazzy and Nellie departed the estate, the other guest arrived: Nellie's avaricious and selfish fellow nurse Pamela Lang, whom Snazzy had invited during the same phone call arranging for him and Nellie to be called into work.

(Nellie the Nurse I#15/2 - BTS) - The Maharajah tested Pam with the same kind of offers he had tried to make to Nellie, promising her furs, jewels and cars if she would become his wife. Overcome with excitement, Pam fainted, and later informed Nellie that her afternoon with the Maharajah had been wonderful, gushing about the Maharajah's offer. The Maharajah however wasted little time in announcing his experiment and its results - that all American women were interested in was money - to the newspapers, going so far as to name Pam as his unwitting test subject. With the story making the front page of the Daily View, Snazzy showed the newspaper to Nellie, who had been angry at him for pulling her away from the Maharajah until Snazzy told her what the noble had really been up to, and a grateful Nellie took great pleasure in showing the headline to a mortified Pam.

(Nellie the Nurse I#15/2) - Some time later (see comments) the Maharajah had his limousine modified to install a howdah, and was spotted riding atop his car by Snazzy and Nellie.

Comments: Created by uncredited writer, penciller and inker; it's entirely feasible that Stan Lee was the writer.

   Addressing the elephant in the room first: Obviously by today's standards the Maharajah of "Shishkebob" is a bit of a dodgy stereotype, but it's perhaps worth noting that for the 1940s he's positively progressive - he's not drawn with exaggerated features, weirdly colored, depicted negatively in terms of intellect or personality, and speaks perfectly normal English. In fact, if not for the turban, curly shoes and name, he could as easily be a rich American as an Indian maharajah.

   The scene described above last, with the Maharajah riding on top of a car in a howdah (the type of carriage normally used to ride atop an elephant) is actually the first panel of the story; it's almost like a comic cover, introducing the story without fitting in with the rest of the tale, and Nellie clearly recognizes the Maharajah based on her comments, despite not meeting him until a few pages later. It could be dismissed as not being a real event, but I prefer to treat it as a later event, shown slightly out of sequence.

   He's not actually called by the alias of the Roguish Rajah in the story, but it is the title of the tale, so I figure it's worth listing.

   Given that he wears a turban, he's presumably a Sikh, though he's also seen to have short hair when he takes the turban off to go swimming, which presumably means the artist didn't realize Sikh men don't cut their hair as one of the tenets of their faith.

    I've estimated him to be around 5'4"; he's seen walking next to Nellie in one panel, and even with his turban on is visibly several inches shorter than her, though at least some of that height difference would be down to her heels. Nellie's never had a handbook entry to provide her official height, but Millie the Model does, and is 5'7"; Millie and Nellie met in Millie the Model I#85/9, and appear to be the same height as one another.

    This profile was completed 12/09/2020, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Maharajah of Shishkebob has no known connections to:


Butler

When Skeezy and Nellie visited the Maharajah, their host suggested Skeezy play his unseen butler at chess as a pretext to get rid of the young doctor so he could spend time alone with Nellie.

Comments: The butler is mentioned but not seen in the story itself, but in the first panel of the story, which doesn't fit with the main body of the story, we see the Maharajah's car being driven by a servant wearing a turban; though it's certainly conceivable that someone as wealthy as the Maharajah could have multiple servants, with a chauffeur as well as a butler, since we only see one servant and likewise only hear of one servant, I'm going to assume it's the same person.

--Nellie the Nurse I#15/2


images: (without ads)

Nellie the Nurse I#15/2, p3, pan1 (main image)
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2, p3, pan2 (image)
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2, p5, pan7 (without turban)
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2, p1, pan 1 (butler)


Appearances:
Nellie the Nurse I#15/2 (October 1948) - uncredited writer, pencils, inks, editor


First Posted: 09/01/2021
Last updated: 08/28/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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